I have been told that the last thoughts one has before going to sleep sets a stage for one’s dreams and the dark night. Having no evidence outside of my experience to support the theory, it is interesting to consider how many answers to lingering questions are answered with the dawn. In my experience, the cause and effect correlation drives a habitual desire to be intentional, even when I sleep.
There are two warnings I would share with anyone thinking of being intentional with one’s mind when you are in control. First, be careful what you ask your mind to think about because it will! Second, have a double think about one’s choice of topics. The mind has a bad habit of giving you honest answers to your questions. When you wake up knowing the answer to a question that you have been comfortably living with in denial, it is hard to ignore what you already know to be true.
With these learnings in mind, I find myself focusing on my dreams and aspirations. I love the fact that my mind is considering the various paths to something better. When I embrace compassion, empathy, and forgiveness in the context of a good night’s sleep, I give my mind the freedom to explore the full revelation of the psalmist’s observation; “I meditate on your name all night, God, treasuring your revelation, O God.” (Psalm 119.55) When I focus my mind and energy on being a better man, I give my mind permission to see the best in others and the ways we can collaborate.
The related action that I find to be helpful is the act of letting go my anger and resentment. For me, it is as if I am withdrawing any/all permissions given to my mind for things that are destructive. I have lost interest in improving my abilities in this area. The trail of destruction is already too long; I cannot see any value in adding more to the pile.
With the fading dawn, I see today with a sense of possibility and awe.